Card wars time!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I'VE played quite a few card battling games, but none have taken a shine to me like Card Wars - Adventure Time has.

If you've played card battle games like Magic the Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers or Hearthstone, you'll notice that there's nothing much more to them than taking the trading card game formula from the tabletop to the desktop. It's awfully the same as the laying down the cards on your playing field then clicking away to determine what you want to do.

This game, however, has more in common with Hearthstone, however, with the use of a franchise's signature characters and a set pool of magic points to spend, unlike in Magic the Gathering where your moves in every round are limited by the number of land cards you have on the field.


The distinct feature of Card Wars is how your cards come to life when you place them on the playing field. When you play a creature or building card, it materializes on the playing field, giving a sense of life to the battles waged between each player's cards. The player is also given a role in the attacking and defending phase of the game through the battle wheel. With a well-timed press, the player can either deal double damage, block or counter an enemy's attack, as well as miss their own attack completely or leave their creature opent to damage.

This is also further given life with the fact that you can see the two opposing characters performing the actions of laying down cards, instead of the cards just hovering around and setting themselves down. In Card Wars, you'll get to see Adventure Time favorites such as Jake, Finn and Princess Bubblegum play against each other, and with some great voice acting on each of the characters to boot.

The use of the franchises characters is no simple gimmick either, as each of them has a hero ability which can provide an advantage depending on the player's deck. Jake, for instance, can increase the power of all of his Corn field creatures by one after three turns.

The game still provides some strategy for building decks as there are five kinds of landscapes to use for each deck. Taking a page out of Magic the Gathering, Card Wars has players have four spaces for landscapes in each game, where only corresponding creatures may be placed. Think of it as like Magic the Gathering, where a red creature or spell can only be played if you have a Mountain card on the field. For Card Wars, however, the landscapes are Corn Fields, Blue Plains, Useless Swamp, Nice Lands and Sandy Lands. There are also Rainbow-type creatures which may be played on any kind of landscape.

Overall, Card Wars is an example of a fine use of a franchise to create a game. The presentation, art style, voice work and atmosphere all remain faithful to the show while the game play manages to be more than just a copy of similar games in the genre already out there, being a complete game in itself rather than simply copying popular ones and banking on the draw of the series' name to be successful.

Card Wars costs $3.99 on the App Store.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 05, 2014.


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